Sport and exercise science

AGCAS editors
July, 2023

A sport and exercise science degree opens up career opportunities throughout the sports industry, working with athletes, children or the general public

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Look for opportunities that match the career you'd like to go into. Try youth sport volunteering if you're interested in coaching or get work experience in a school if you'd like to teach PE. Part-time work in a leisure centre is helpful, either in the admin and marketing side, or in fitness instruction and pool attendant work.

You can also gain great experience working in the sports section of a children's summer holiday scheme, in health promotion with local communities or in outdoor pursuit activities.

Your degree may include a year in industry. Use that opportunity to try out your preferred career area and to establish a useful network of contacts for after your graduation.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Jobs are available with a range of organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, including:

  • professional sports clubs
  • national sporting associations, governing bodies and other related sporting agencies
  • private health and fitness clubs, spas and public sports and recreation facilities
  • local authorities
  • schools, further education and higher education institutions
  • the health sector, including the NHS.

You may eventually set up your own business or consultancy or choose to enter a career not directly related to sport, such as finance or management.

Find information on employers in leisure, sport and tourism, teacher training and education, healthcare and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A degree in sport and exercise science gives you an understanding of sports performance and the factors that affect behaviour in sport. You gain subject-specific knowledge in areas such as physiology, psychology, biochemistry, biomechanics and nutrition.

You'll also develop a set of core skills including:

  • research and data analysis
  • the ability to work on your own initiative and as part of a team
  • presentation and oral communication skills
  • written communication skills, including report writing
  • time management and planning
  • effective problem solving
  • professionalism and customer focus
  • a good understanding of information technology.

Further study

Some sport-related careers require further study at postgraduate level. For example, if you want to become a sport and exercise psychologist you'll need to complete relevant accredited psychology qualifications. To get a job as a sports coach, you'll need to gain the appropriate coaching qualification that's offered by the national governing body of your chosen sport.

If you want to become a PE teacher, you can go on to complete a postgraduate teaching qualification. A Masters or PhD may open you up other teaching and research opportunities in higher education.

You could also go on to study a different subject area, such as journalism to become a sports journalist, law to advise about employment legalities and contracts for sports professionals, or marketing to carry out marketing activities for a sports venue.

It's also possible to specialise at Masters level to increase your knowledge in a particular area of interest, such as sport biomechanics or musculoskeletal sport science.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see teacher training and educationMasters degrees and search postgraduate courses in sport and exercise science.

What do sport science graduates do?

Five of the top ten jobs held by sport and exercise science graduates 15 months after graduation include sports and fitness occupations (15%), teaching professionals (14%), therapy professionals (4%), teaching and childcare support occupations (4%), caring personal services (3%), HR professionals (3%) and welfare and housing associate professionals (2%).

Further study10
Working and studying13.2
Graduate destinations for sport and exercise science
Type of workPercentage
Other professionals19.8
Retail, catering and customer service10.7
Childcare, health and education8
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what sport science graduates are doing after graduation, see What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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